These days, researches concluding that being bilingual is enhancing your intellectual abilities even in non-linguistic areas are emerging quite often. This one, however, took me somewhat aback.
“Under quiet, laboratory conditions, both groups – the bilingual and the English-only-speaking students – responded similarly. But against a backdrop of noisy chatter, the bilingual group were far superior at processing sounds. They were better able to tune in to the important information – the speaker’s voice – and block out other distracting noises – the background chatter.”
I daresay I’m bilingual all right (possibly bi-et-semi-lingual or more), but inability to block out background noise is one of the heaviest burdens I carry.